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Radon Frequently Asked Questions

Q.       What is a safe level of radon gas?

A.   A safe level of radon gas is no radon gas. Radon gas is a carcinogen which causes lung cancer. The US EPA has put it plainly, stating, "Any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. The lower the radon levels in your home, the lower your family's risk of lung cancer." The average person receives a higher dose of radiation from the radon levels in their home than from their combined exposure to all other radiation sources, natural or man-made. Your risk of lung cancer increases substantially with exposure to higher radon levels.

Q.       What is an acceptable level of radon gas?

A.   Radon Act 51 passed by Congress set the natural outdoor level of radon gas (0.4 pCi/L) as the target radon level for indoor radon levels. Unfortunately two-thirds of all homes exceed this level. The US EPA was tasked with setting practical guidelines and recommendations for the nation. To this end, the US EPA has set an action level of 4 pCi/L. At or above this level of radon, the EPA recommends you take corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.

Q.       If I paint my basement floor, will it keep Radon out of my house?

A.   No. An atom of Radon gas is so small that it passes through the earth with ease.  So, paint, no matter how thick, will not stop it.

Q.       Because my home does not have a basement or slab, is it true I don't have to worry about Radon?

A.   Absolutely not!  Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings and making its way up and into household air.   A basement home is just as likely to have HIGH Radon levels as a crawl space or slab home. 

Q.       Will leaving my crawl space vents or door open eliminate the radon problem?

A.   No. Actually this may make it worse by creating an even larger vacuum under your home.

Q.       I heard that Radon does not cause many deaths in the United States, is that true?

A.  No.  Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  Radon kills more people in the United States each year than drunk drivers.

Q.       Is it true that if my neighbor’s Radon levels are low, mine will also be low?

A.   No.  Even if the house next door is radon-free, your property may have elevated levels of the gas. Nationally one in fifteen homes has high levels of Radon. In our area of the Country, it is closer to one in four.

Q.       Once my house is mitigated, do I ever need to worry about radon again?

A.   Yes.  Many factors can cause the radon levels in your home to change; renovations, changes in ventilation, earthquakes, settling of the ground beneath the building, or new holes or cracks in the floor or foundation may allow radon to find new ways to enter your home, and you should retest just to be sure. We suggest that you retest your home every two years.

Q.       I’ve heard Radon systems are ugly.

A.  This can be true, but at First Choice we strive to make each installation complement your home’s exterior.   We conceal the system fan and fittings in a paintable housing and try to place the system where it is not readily visible.   

Q.       Why should I use a certified mitigator?

A.   A certified mitigator will ensure that your home is properly mitigated to EPA/NEHA/AARST/ASTM protocols.

Q.       Can the fan be mounted inside my home to make it easy?

A.   Never. Plain and simple NO. The fan cannot be mounted inside or beneath your home.  A deadly concentration of Radon is forced out of the exhaust side o the fan.  If this exhaust pipe were to ever crack or break, these deadly levels of Radon would then be forced into your living space.  Because of this fact, only the suction portion of the system can be located inside your home.

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